Of vegan cakes, summer heat and the state of being alone (Likha Diwa sa Gulod, UP Diliman)

Do you like doing things by yourself? Well, for a huge part, I don’t. Perhaps with the exception of working out, reading a book, and writing, I’ve always preferred doing activities with someone else. I find that I enjoy a movie less when I watch it alone, or that I finish my meals faster when dining without my Kite.

Sometimes though, one’s left with no choice but to do so.

While processing my clearance papers and on my last week as a graduate student, I found myself wandering around and looking for a place to eat lunch. For some reason, Likha Diwa sa Gulod crossed my mind and I said, “Why not?”. It is a UP Diliman classic after all and it is but fitting that I dine at a place like it at that specific point of my UP life. Now that I think about it, I can’t recall when exactly the last time I was at the restaurant (some time between 2001 and 2005 I suppose? :-P), but I do remember me having organic brown rice and an equally grand time.

Ang ineeeeeet...

I went in and found it hasn’t changed much even after all those years. It remains to be a quaint and charming spot with no pretentiousness whatsoever. In spite of the summer heat, the resto was still airy and comfortable, with much thanks to the electric fans that dot the service area. The art pieces and eclectic interiors (and exteriors) were still there too.

She's kinda cute, yes? And I think she knew she was part of the photo. :-P

Easy. Breezy. KNL.

Reminded me of Gayuma ni Maria. On hindsight, I should've eaten at this area..

So here’s what I had for lunch:

Balunggaysi: banana, malunggay, calamansi. Definitely not as bad as it looks.

Shiitake strips: Fried Shiitake served with cucumber strips and vinegar. WINNER.

Vegetable burger: Oil free vegetable patty with vegetarian mayonnaise.

Vegan chocolate cake: Eggless and without cow's milk and butter! This Muscovado-sweetened volcanic and fudgy chocolate is a guilt-free treat to your sweet cravings. AMEN.

Uh huh. Madami. Haha! At first I tried to fool myself to think that I’d only eat half and take out the rest, but obviously, that didn’t happen. Naubos ko lahat. Hehe.

What just happened? :-P

The veggie burger had the expected, and rather unfortunate, mushy texture (think beans instead of gluten), but I still appreciated how the crust held up as it was executed without being fried. The balunggaysi was unexpectedly, not revolting in spite of its hue, and was in fact very refreshing. It was more citrusy than anything, but you definitely still get a hit of its banana component. The malunggay’s presence wasn’t felt so much besides from the bits of visible leaves. And oh, its watery consistency (read: not slimy and not viscous. Yey!) was a pleasant surprise as well.

Good thing this was at least well-seasoned.

And then there’re the Shiitake strips and the vegan chocolate cake. Man, these two definitely outshone the first I just described. The mushrooms, tender and meaty, I could’ve eaten for days! Healthy chicharon (minus the crunch) ba kamo? Yun na yun! The only way I can describe the breading is that almost sweet taste you get with Monde’s Bread Sticks and it complimented the Shiitake very, very well. The dessert, meanwhile, was nothing short of heavenly. Best eaten warm, the soft center wasn’t cloyingly sweet and was ultra fudgy. The cake itself was dense, but not too heavy. And they tell me it was eggless and sans the dairy? Love!

Manna from heaven. I will go back to this place just for this.

At the end of the meal I realized I still am not a fan of solitary dining, but I was happy destiny gave me a chance to experience it that day. I recall sending an SMS to Kite soon after: “I’ll have to bring you here soon. You’ll love the cake!”, to which the reply was “Dalhin mo ko diyan ah.“. :-D I hope the place is still open by that time. Oh, and that by then I’d have my own car too. :-P

Likha Diwa: Coffee shop, arts, crafts.

Likha Diwa sa Gulod 
Vegetarian and Seafood Cafe
C.P. Garcia, Krus na Ligas
Quezon City
Tel. No. +63 2 925 5522

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